Frequently asked questions
- How can a professional organizer help me?
- Why should I hire you?
- I've never been able to stick with an organizing system. How will this be different?
- Will you make me throw away my things?
- How long will it take?
- How much will it cost?
- Is it worth the money?
- Will I stay organized?
- Should I tidy my house before you come in?
- Is our work together confidential?
- Will I have to buy new furniture or a lot of organizing products?
- Can I check client references?
- What are your qualifications?
If you crave order and can’t seem to create it in your home, a professional organizer can help you achieve and maintain that order and the peace of mind that comes with it. I will bring expertise and an objective eye to your situation, and will help guide you to discard unwanted objects that are cluttering your life. By hiring a professional organizer, you’re making a commitment to work toward creating the environment you yearn to live in.
I’m one of the most experienced and credentialed organizers in the St. Louis area. As president of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), I am a leader in the local organizing community. I’m the St. Louis area’s first Certified Professional Organizer®, a credential conferred by the Board of Certification of Professional Organizers, and have taken the continuing education courses that have allowed me to recertify every three years. I was the first organizer in the St. Louis area to become a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, after a rigorous, 20-month course of study. (I let that certification expire in 2015.) I’ve taken extensive training through the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (formerly NSGCD), NAPO, and other organizations and I bring experience and compassion to the job. To top it off, I have empathy. I’m not a naturally neat and organized person; I’ve spent a lifetime coming up with organizing solutions that work for me and I love sharing them with my clients. To get a feel for what working with me is like, you can subscribe to my blog and newsletter.
Trying to use an organizing system that doesn’t mesh with the way you think is like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. We’ll start by establishing your goals and vision for your space. I will ask you questions and make suggestions based on what I think will work for you. I won’t force any system on you, but instead will work with you until we find one that’s right for you. And I’ll work with you to change the habits that have made it difficult for you to stay organized in the past. I can also provide support until the new system is firmly in place.
Anything you discard will be your decision alone. My team members and I never throw anything away without permission. If clutter is a problem in your home, you’ll almost certainly need to part with unneeded or unwanted items in order to attain your goals. I’ll help you identify those items and guide you in your decision making. But I won’t make you get rid of anything. More than 25 years ago, I encouraged my now-husband to toss out all his class notes from college and he lived to regret it (and he reminds me at least once a year!). I learned a valuable lesson: I never try to influence people to give up irreplaceable items. But I’ll cheer you on as you decide to give up things that no longer have meaning or value for you.
That depends on the size and scope of the job, how quickly you make decisions about thinning out your belongings, and whether we’re working one-on-one or with a team. If you’re willing and able to do homework between sessions on multi-session projects, the process will go faster.
If you choose to have me bring in an organizing team reaching your organizing goals will take significantly less time (and be less expensive).
The fees for my services are listed in the appropriate pages within the Services menu. You can also choose to hire me or one of my team members on an hourly basis, with a minimum three-hour session.
If you live more than 45 minutes from my south St. Louis home (or the home of the team member you’ll be working with), you’ll be charged for travel time in excess of 45 minutes each way. (That time will just be added to the session time.)
If you live too far for me to drive back and forth home each day, I can travel to work with you. When I travel to work with you, I charge a daily fee, and will work with you as long as you want each day, up to ten hours. You’re responsible for my travel costs (hotel, food, airfare or gasoline), as well as my daily fee. I have found this type of intensive work to be very productive. (For more information see the Live Outside St. Louis? page.)
When you hire a professional organizer, you make an investment in your future. Being disorganized is expensive. It hampers your productivity and costs you time when you can’t find what you’re looking for. If you’re disorganized in paying your bills, you might be paying late charges and higher-than-necessary interest rates on credit cards. Just think what you could do with the time you now spend dealing with your stuff. Freeing your time and your mind by overcoming your barriers to getting and staying organized can pay dividends you can’t even anticipate now. I can help you get there.
All my services come with my Peace of Mind Guarantee. If, after your first session, you don’t feel you’ve gained more peace of mind, I’ll refund your money.
We will work with you to establish organizing systems customized to the way you think and live and will teach you the skills needed to maintain order. We can also work with you to create new habits so set you up for success.
If you’re having trouble staying organized after the hands-on work is completed, and you need help staying motivated, just give me a call. We’ll figure out how to get you back on track. If you need more support to stay on top of your particular organizational challenge, you can hire me or one of my team members for maintenance work.
Please don’t! I will want to see the full extent of any disorder in your home and get a chance to see how you live with it. It’s important that I see the piles that habitually appear, so I can figure out how to make them disappear and stay away. Piles provide valuable clues!
Absolutely. I recognize that clutter and disorder are personal and respect each client’s privacy. As a Certified Professional Organizer® I am required to adhere to the Board of Certification of Professional Organizer’s Code of Ethics. I also abide by the Codes of Ethics of the National Association of Professional Organizers and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. All these ethical codes stipulate client confidentiality.
In addition, all my team members are also members of the National Association of Professional Organizers and adhere to NAPO’s Code of Ethics.
Not necessarily. If you’re like a lot of people who crave order, you’ve amassed a large number of organizing products. My team members and I will strive to use items you already own. You may need to purchase some organizing supplies. If storage is an issue for you, some types of furniture or shelving may be necessary. Of course whether or not to purchase items will be completely up to you.
Certainly. Just ask me for references. (And also please check out my testimonials page.)
I have taken extensive education and training from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (formerly NSGCD) and the National Association of Professional Organizers. I typically attend at least two professional educational conferences each year. And I have invested in training in coaching, estate organizing, conducting needs assessments, and the Freedom Filer filing system. See the credentials page for details of my professional training and education.
In November 2008, I passed the certification exam administered by the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. In order to sit for the exam, an organizer must have 1500 billed clients hours in the last three years (or 1250 hours and 250 substitute hours of training). In order to maintain my certification, I am required to take 15 hours of continuing education a year. Passing the exam entitled me to use the initials CPO® after my name. I’m the first organizer in the St. Louis area to achieve that distinction. I’m one of only five CPO®s in St. Louis and eight in the entire state of Missouri.
In October 2009, I completed a 20-month mentored and peer-reviewed program of study from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, conferring on me the prestigious credential Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization® or CPO-CD®. I was the first CPO-CD® in the St. Louis area and remained the only one until I let my certification expire in 2015.
From 1995 to 2005, I ran a successful writing business (I authored seven books and wrote more than a hundred newspaper and magazine articles) that required me to organize vast amounts of information. In prior positions I planned complex media events.
One of my most important attributes is my people skills. I empathize with people who have difficulty staying organized. I understand what they’re going through. I’m non-judgmental and supportive. I’m very gentle. And I would truly enjoy helping you overcome whatever is keeping you from achieving your organizational goals.